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Monday, January 24, 2022

Man arrested in Qatar for human trafficking


Qatar’s ministry of interior said ‘an African national’ was detained for trafficking people into Qatar.

Qatari authorities said on Monday they arrested a man for illegally employing absconded domestic workers who he had smuggled from their home country. 

“The Search and Follow-up Department at the General Directorate of Passports arrested an African national for smuggling female workers from his country and employing and sheltering them in Salata area,” the Ministry of Interior said in a statement. 

It added that the department has deployed a designated team that is coordinating with the relevant security departments to investigate the case. 

“After taking necessary permissions, the accused was arrested red-handed with 15 domestic workers sheltered at a rented house for this purpose in Salata area,” the ministry confirmed.

“During the interrogation, the accused confessed the crime and explained how he lured the domestic workers with special offers to work in private houses. The accused were referred to the competent authorities for further legal proceedings in this regard.”

This comes amid rising concerns of the illegal employment of domestic workers who have entered Qatar legally but gone on to runaway from their employers. The ministry warned of employing such people “to avoid any legal accountability or exposure to various crimes.”

Some residents have reportedly claimed that housekeepers are running away and working with unidentified employers in a bid to earn higher salaries. 

Two different people reached out to Doha News voicing concerns over the issue, sharing a similar story. According to the two, the workers reportedly went missing directly after the three-month probation period which is set by recruiting agencies in accordance with the Qatari law. 

In order to get a domestic worker in Qatar, employers are required to go through a recruiting agency. The process of getting a housekeeper from abroad can cost over QR 10,000 based on the nationality of the worker and other criteria. 

By law, this amount is non-refundable after the domestic worker serves their probation period.

Recently, the Ministry of Labour amended some provisions of Resolution No. 8 of 2005 through Ministerial Decision No.21 of 2021.

According to the amended laws, the probation period for domestic workers has been extended to nine months.

The ministry explained that as per the amended provisions, the recruiting agency is obligated to guarantee an additional six-month probationary period, starting immediately after the end of the three-month preliminary testing period.

During the additional probation period, the employer is guaranteed the sum paid to the agency, minus 15 percent of the total amount for each month the worker spends in service, with deduction of the value of government fees incurred by the office.

This applies in case the employee refuses to work or quits, or in case of illness with a chronic disease.

Read also: Despite Qatar scrapping Kafala system ‘workers still face obstacles’: rights group

The right of reimbursement shall be forfeited in case the employer assaults the worker or violates any of the terms stated in the contract.

“My son got a housekeeper this year and after exactly three months she ran away. What is surprising is that she left during the day while we were all at home,” one resident told Doha News.

“She told our other helper that she is taking an uber and then left and never came back,” she added. 

“It was a disaster, my son had to go over the process again and pay the same amount which is a lot and he has a family and a baby.”

Another resident also encountered a similar experience with two different housekeepers in one year. 

“I had a worker who stayed for two years, the kids loved her so much and I helped her renew her passport and all was great until one day I sent her to pick up her passport from the embassy and she never came back.” 

The employer said she paid roughly QR 16,000 for the recruiting agency. 

“She told me that her mother was sick and needed QR 2000, I gave her the money days before she disappeared,” the employer added. 

The agency said “there’s nothing we can do, contact the police,” according to the resident’s statement. 

After months, the same employer got another worker who also attempted to run away and allegedly works for an unidentified employer who is said to be gathering runaways and employing them illegally. 

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